Homebrew Recovering Unused Held Spells
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  1. #1
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    Recovering Unused Held Spells

    While running my usual weekly game last week, one of my players asked about holding an action to cast a spell. I told him the rules, and he inquired if he could recover the cast spell if it wasn't used. I told him about the way the rules handle it (the spell is spent regardless of using it) and I gave it a moment of thought. I decided on the following temporary house rule:

    A caster who holds a spell and doesn't use it can, as a bonus action, attempt to recover the spell energy by making an arcana or religion check (whichever is appropriate). The DC of the check is 15 + the spell's level.

    What do you think?
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  2. #2
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    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)



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    Seems reasonable, but I would just make it a casting check - Prof + casting stat bonus, same as for spell attack rolls. Unless you want to penalise all the CHA casters.

  3. #3
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)



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    It seems unnecessarily complicated. It would be much easier to just say that the spell energy is not expended in the first place, if you don't actually cast the spell. The action economy should be enough to make sure that nobody abuses it.
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  4. #4
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I would suggest making it a spellcasting ability check instead, similarly to how dispel magic and counterspell work against higher level spells. The DC is 10 + the spell's level. That way it functions identically across all spellcasters, as it could be a bit wierd for a ranger or bard to make an Intelligence (Arcana or Religion) check.

  5. #5
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    For the first couple of years of 5e, I didn't realize that readying a spell cost a slot or concentration. It didn't come up much, but when it did, things worked out fine. I have since house ruled away the "spend the slot even if you don't cast the spell" part of the rules, and haven't found it to be a problem.

  6. #6
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I didn't have a problem with RAW, or your proposal, and was just about to go to another thread when the thought hit me; why are spell casters penalized more than martials with a readied action? It not like an archer loses his arrow, why should a caster lose their spell energy?

    Not sure what I think on all this yet, but I'm leaning to houserule no spell slot cost/loss.

  7. #7
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Spells are much more effective, or at least potentially effective, than simply attacking with weapons. Weapon damage will damage HP, but spells can damage HP, remove them temporarily from the battlefield, make them switch sides, or any number of things. it is more effective in a fight to make one of the three Orcs attack his friend, rather than just damaging them, unless you can reduce their HP to 0 with that damage. If you don't reduce them to 0, then an enemy with 1 hp has the same CR as the same enemy with 100 HP once it's their turn. But if you incapacitate them, their CR is 0 regardless of how much HP they have.

    So it makes sense for Spellcasters to get more penalized for using their abilities.
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  8. #8
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    I didn't have a problem with RAW, or your proposal, and was just about to go to another thread when the thought hit me; why are spell casters penalized more than martials with a readied action? It not like an archer loses his arrow, why should a caster lose their spell energy?
    They do lose their attack, though, and merely readying in the first place loses you any extra attacks. Using a readied action also precludes using an opportunity attack. So there's definitely an opportunity cost there.

  9. #9
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    I do not have a big deal with just letting casters keep their spell, but your idea works fine and has the potential to penalize. The only thing I see to think about is that the DC of the save being level of the spell seems to go up the same as the PCs get higher themselves in terms of modifier check and magic and such. Not that this is a problem .

  10. #10
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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    What I prefer to do instead is require the slot to be spent, but allow them to keep the spell readied from round to round until they release it, rather than saying that you lose the spell if you don't cast it before the start of your next turn.
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